Predator: Hunting Grounds Trial Reaction

Set to release later this month on April 24th, Predator: Hunting Grounds released a free trial last weekend. From the makers of the successful Friday the 13th, IllFonic moved from one classic predator to another, ahem, Predator.

Having dabbled a little as Jason and the campers, The Two Average Gamers decided to give a try as soldiers and the superhuman hunting machine! Keep reading to find out what was found to be good, bad, and ugly.

Concept

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As far as the concept goes, I love this game. Asymmetrical multiplayer games are really gaining some traction. 

The aforementioned Friday the 13th and Dead By Daylight are very similar. Even the newly released Resident Evil 3 has a Resistance mode that features the 4 v 1 style. The idea of playing a classic 80’s action movie monster and preying on your friends in a jungle is what dreams are made of. Maybe we can get an Alien styled equivalent down the road.

Grade: A+

Yoshyaes

I don’t think I’ve ever seen the original Predator movie, but I like the idea of a super-powered hunter stalking its prey from the trees.

Having had the Friday the 13th experience, I was nervous about a repeat of underwhelming humans fighting a monster. However, the thought of an elite Fireteam fighting with weapons sounded like a great way to level the playing field. It’s also cool that the developers added a PvE elemental to the game in addition to the 4v1 PvP.

Grade: A

Predator Hunting Grounds Main Menu

Graphics

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Upon diving into the training mode, I was in awe with the beauty of the level. There’s something about the plushness of a jungle that, if done correctly, will always be immersive. Predator: Hunting Grounds did not miss the mark on this. 

Looking closer, though, I wasn’t in love with the character design. The Predator looked good but the actual soldiers looked rather generic. I wouldn’t expect humans to be the focus. 

Overall, I was pleased with the graphics. They met my expectations for this category, all things considered.

Grade: B+

Yoshyaes

It’s clear that the graphics folks have an eye for detail. While running through the trees, I could see individual leaves swaying in the wind the branches.

The Predator looks great, with some pretty dope “predlocks” animations and an impressive character model.

Where things start to fall apart for me is with the Fireteam. Their faces are far too generic and the overall look of the opposing enemy militia is equally bland.

I would have liked to see the same level of attention paid to the human characters as the predator and environment.

Grade: B-

Controls & Mechanics

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To address the mechanics first, I was very surprised that, while the Predator was played in third-person, the human players were first-person. Being a bit more of a fan of third-person shooters it would have been great if you had the option to switch. I suppose that could provide a bit of an advantage but I also suspect people would want to play first-person as the Predator. Modders, have at it! 

As for the controls, nothing stood out as being too awkward. The soldiers played as you’d expect a first-person shooter to play. The Predator, on the other hand, had a bit of getting used to. You could traverse the jungle fairly easily. Scaling trees was also straightforward.

Triggering your set of technology from active camo to infrared vision was a button click. I wasn’t in love with some of the locked-in animations. It would have been better if you could stop and hide rather than doing the same jump, scale, run and plop onto the tree trunk. 

Grade: B-

Yoshyaes

Maybe I’ve been spoiled by the fluidity of Apex and Call of Duty, but the gun mechanics in Predator just felt so wrong to me. The recoil was insanely high and the gun would often seem to move in a different direction than where I was aiming. The whole shooting system feels very jerky, especially with automatic weapons.

Unrelated, it doesn’t make much sense that the game would give you so much information about the enemy. Not only can you see the bad guys on your radar – even when they aren’t firing – but you can also see their highlighted silhouette through walls!

On the Predator side, the controls are a little wonky. Abilities are mapped to a combination of the trigger, D-pad and face buttons, feeling very unnatural to navigate as the beast. Leaping through trees feels fantastic, but that’s about as good as things get with controlling the Predator.

It’s possible that I’d get more comfortable with this loadout over time, but these things are meant to be intuitive.

Grade: C

Predator Hunting Ground controls

Performance

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If Predator: Hunting Grounds needs to fix one thing before launch, it’s the performance. I almost became nauseated with the loss of frames playing this game. I’m not entirely sure if it was the server or just the client game itself. But, in a game that requires scanning the tree top line for a technologically advanced, yet primal, alien killing machine, I need to do so without blurs and frame jumps.

Probably a result of these frame drops, but to bring up the mechanics again, shooting in Predator: Hunting Grounds first-person mode felt like a second-tier game. Maybe I’m spoiled playing games like Overwatch or Apex Legends.

Grade: D

Yoshyaes

While playing, the game felt fairly smooth. Unfortunately, when I went back and watched some of the gameplay footage, it was clear that the animations weren’t as fluid as originally thought.

The choppiness was even more noticeable during engagements with large groups of enemies.

Speaking of enemies, the enemy AI isn’t great. There were many times where the NPCs would run out into the open and just stand still while they fired. This is the complete opposite of what I’ve come to expect from games like Uncharted.

Ultimately, the game is playable but performs as though it’s in Early Access mode

Grade: C-

Predator Hunting Grounds Pistol ADS

Customization

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As you can imagine, you don the ability to customize your own soldier and, more importantly, your own Predator!

You can upgrade several cosmetics as well as your abilities to make your soldier more formidable. Adding powers to your Predator will make slaughtering the human foes much easier.

As it was only a trial, we couldn’t see the full extent of these details, but I believe it was on par with the industry. I’m sure they’ll follow the standard of sprinkling in legendary level loot among the skins-swapped general cosmetics.

Grade: B 

Yoshyaes

On the Fireteam side, the customization is about what I’d expect from an online shooter. Being able to select which weapons, throwables and heals is a baseline for me. There’s also a good amount of perks to choose from so the player can create a build that fits their playstyle.

There seem to be an appropriate amount of weapons to unlock and the game does a nice job of highlighting each weapon’s stats. Unfortunately, I didn’t see any way to customize each weapon via attachments. 

The game’s appearance customization is also pretty solid, with warpaint, armor style, and accessories available.

Grade: A-

Predator Hunting Grounds Customization

Fun Factor & Overall Grade

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So, is it fun?

For the couple of hours we played, I did have fun. Would I buy this game? No? Would I want to play the game as-is for an extended period of time? Also, no. When it comes to developing and releasing a game, these questions should definitely not be answered with no. 

Because the game has such an amazing theme and concept, I do think it is salvageable. Either a delay or serious patching as soon as possible to address some of the performance issues would be necessary.

Also, I’m sure Yoshyaes will talk more about his time as Predator, but from everything I’ve seen online, Predator is not nearly as powerful as he should be. I would suggest either making the soldiers weaker or more logically, making the Predator stronger. A larger health pool or damage reduction would be an easy way to not step on the toes of the upgrades you can unlock. 

One final suggestion – remove the ability to mark the Predator. In an era of adding pings and marks to every shooter, it feels out of place here. A monster that relies on camouflage should not be highlighted in yellow. The soldiers should have to rely on verbal communication in-game to better keep track of the Predator. This small change would make killing the Predator MUCH harder. If you must have a marking mechanic, have it show as a general area blob instead of a 100% accurate spot. Doing it this way could even lend itself to be an upgradeable skill. Whew, I just came up with that concept as I typed this out.

Oh yeah, the Predator should not be so darn loud all the time.

Overall, Predator: Hunting Grounds has tons of promise but it has been underdeveloped so far. It needs a bit of rework to live up to its brother, Friday the 13th. 

Overall Grade: C

Yoshyaes

I really like shooter games. I also really like the dynamic of a 4v1 fight. It would follow that I really like this game.

After playing as both the Fireteam and the Predator, I gotta say that I was underwhelmed.

As a shooter, the game feels blah and unbalanced. It seems like the developers tried to give the advantage to the Fireteam, but you end up missing so many shots and not being able to find more ammo. Interestingly, the pistol had a much better feel than the SMGs.

The objectives were also very easy to complete, making it a breeze to move from one POI to another. The end result is a pretty easy jog through the jungle followed by an ammo-less knife fight.

The Predator isn’t nearly as strong as he needs to be. I remember when Fortnite did their Thanos event and being really pleased with how powerful the purple guy was. As the hunter in this game, I mostly felt frightened of getting shot at. 

I was expecting there to be significantly more Fireteam-Predator interactions. Instead, the matches were filled with PvE engagements and one quick fight with the Predator.

All that said, I definitely had a sense of accomplishment when we took out the Predator. It feels rewarding, albeit, too easy.

The game has some potential but the devs need to fix a few things before this game really takes off. First, the Predator needs to be buffed — here’s the invisibility mode?? Next, please improve the gun mechanics so it feels like a game that can compete with other shooters in 2020. Lastly, rethink the whole objectives thing. Maybe add optional objectives and give the Fireteam some kind of reward for completing each?

I’ll check back on this game in a few months to see what’s been updated.

Overall Grade: C-

Predator Hunting Grounds Fireteam member down

Did you try Predator: Hunting Grounds?

We would love to hear your thoughts if you had a chance to play through the trial as well. Let us know in the comments if you like this genre of game. Also, let us know if you’ve played Dead By Deadlight or Friday the 13th.

Are you looking forward to this game? What other concepts could benefit from this asymmetrical approach?

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